Best course from Westbrook CT to Block Island - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-09-2007
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Best course from Westbrook CT to Block Island

I am new to crusing and wish to sail my Catalina 27 from Westbrook, CT to Block Island. Some say go through Plum Gut others say The Race. What's the best way, looking for the safest way.

Thanks,

Andrew
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Old 07-09-2007
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From Menunketesuck R. to Block Is.

It looks like a fun week-end sail. The "Plum Gut" route looks to be the most scenic route, but if twilight might catch you in the Gut area I believe the "Race " between Little Gull Is. and Valiant Rock has more hazard clearance. Are you overnighting in Gr. Salt Pond?
Have a blast, Bill
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Old 07-09-2007
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The Race. Time your tides for a nice fast passage on the ebb. If you want to break up the trip, Fischers Island is a nice spot.

Last edited by camaraderie; 07-09-2007 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 07-09-2007
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If you are going to make it in one hop, the Race is the way to go. Just make sure you have current tables so you can time the ebb out. You don't want to be fighting the flood trying to exit the Race. If you want to take it in two smaller steps, another choice is go through Fisher Island Sound to Stonington, then exit the next day via the Watch Hill Passage into Block Island Sound. The mileage to Block Island is shortest via the WH Passage. And Fisher Island Sound, Stonington, and Watch Hill are well worth visiting.
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Old 07-10-2007
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I was at Pilots Point for 18 yrs and Cedar Island for 2. Use the tides go through Fisher Island Sound and Watch Hill Passage. Then shoot out to block from there. You should be able to do the trip in about 11 hours. This is the safest route.

Plum Gut to Block?? Did this come from a power boater?
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Old 07-10-2007
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Block Island Adventure

I had trouble deciding if I should reply to your post or not. Last Friday we sailed to Block Island from Jamestown, RI and had quite the experience. I do not want to scare you into not going but due to the fact you stated you were new to sailing, I decided to share our recent Block Island experience.
We had read many different stories about the difficulties of anchoring at Block Island and also the squalls that often hit the island. Due to these stories, we took off on a Friday so that we would comfortably get a town mooring or dock at Payneís Marina. We left Jamestown about 12:00 PM and arrived at BI about 4:30 PM. The sail was rough but pretty uneventful. The Salt Pond area was filled with of all kinds of boats. There were familyís happily playing on the surrounding beaches. The sun was shining and all was well. We were disappointed to see that all ninety town moorings were already taken and when I called Payneís he said he could try to fit us in but we would have to be rafted to another boat and he just didnít make it sound very inviting. We looked at all the boats anchored and thought, hey how bad can it be. We motored our Ericson 38 over to the anchorage area. Due to the fact I am terrified to operate our boat in small areas, I do the dropping and lifting of the anchor. The first three times we tried to anchor we used the Danforth anchor. During the third drop a nice gentleman dinghyíd over and told my husband that the Danforth would never work and we need to switch. So we switched to the CQR anchor, which happened to be buried under the v-berth and had sails on top of that. So as my husband/captain continued to keep the boat safe, I ran below to get the new anchor, which I pushed up and through the forward hatch. The funny part, I believe the Danforth was actually set because I could barely bring it up and it was covered with mud and large clams. But the decision had been made to switch so I followed captainís orders. We attempted to anchor three times with the much heavier anchor with no luck. I happened to look up between breaths, sweat and close to tears and to my horror the distant skies were not dark but black. The winds were starting to pick up in a way that I had never seen before. The winds were soon 45 knots and we began to see how many boats were poorly anchored. Sailboat and motorboats alike began crashing into each other. You could hear people reporting to the harbor master that unmanned boats were causing damage to other boats and that boats were loose with no one onboard. It was complete chaos and if I hadnít seen it with my own eyes, I would have never believed it. Behind us were three large motor boats whose anchor lines were now tangled. Someone had to dingy to the anchor lines and pull on the anchors onto the dinghy and detangle it that way. Many of these boats didnít have owners on them. I would assume most of them were enjoying the beach because fifteen minutes previously, it was a beautiful day. The people who worked at the boat yard were responding amazingly calm. I was told this is due to the fact this is so common in Block Island.
The weather returned to calm and sunny within twenty minutes. I however was physically and mentally spent. We tried to get a mooring or a dock and it was impossible. At 7:30pm we motored over to a private mooring and picked up an empty mooring that belong to the BIYC. I was prepared to pay any fee but no one came for money or to throw us off. First thing in the morning we found an empty town mooring and enjoyed the rest of our stay in Block Island. It is a beautiful island and is worth a visit. I however would never arrive on a weekend day or late afternoon on a Friday. We spoke to fellow boaters about what had taken place and of course they said we should have stayed with the Danforth but they also said that anchorage difficulties and squalls were a common occurrence on Block Islands. The sail back was beautiful and I will return someday...Ö..maybe.

JK
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Old 07-10-2007
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I have sailed to Block Island over a dozen times and always anchored. This includes at least twice on the July 4th weekend! I have learned to set two anchors (Danforths) at about 90 degrees apart. This gives me "insurance" and reduces swinging. It can be a bit tough to find a spot with enough but not too much depth. To get a town mooring you need to circle in the morning and get one just as it is vacated. They are never available after about noon. Too much trouble for me.

Despite all this, Block Island is a great place. I can assure you my wife and I will be anchored in New Harbor for at least a few days next month during our annual cruise.
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The problem in a crowded harbor with a 2 anchor rig is that your anchor swinging circle is constrained and other boats with a single hook will swing into you as the tide changes. Unless th others around you are all on 2 hooks...I would not do that. Better to use one oversized anchor that is right for the job at hand...in this case...a Fortress on the "mud setting" .
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Old 07-10-2007
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Cam's got a very good point... you don't want to have a reduced swinging circle if the other boats do not—there's a really good chance that you'll get hit by one of the other boats.
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Unfortunately in a "tight" anchorage like Block in the summer, everyone's on short scope for the depth. The two anchors allow me to be to be on a bit more scope on each and still not swing excessively. I have done this in the Block anchorage many times, with wind shifts, thunderstorms, etc. and not had problems. I would prefer to be on one anchor with proper scope, but that is just not possible.
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